If you don’t smoke, drink alcohol in moderation, and are careful with your use of chemicals around the home, you may think that you have reduced your risk for developing cancer significantly. However, what you may not realize is that some of the foods you eat daily are carcinogenic. That meal you had at lunch, the snack you’re planning to have later, or that beverage you’re drinking right now might just give you cancer.
Unhealthy habits are not the only causes of cancer. Foods nowadays go through so much processing that they too are cancerous. Additives, chemicals, and artificial substances are added to these foods for flavoring and to extend their shelf life – but at what cost?
Cancer is on the rise. The number of cancer cases worldwide is expected to increase to 75 percent by 2030. In 2008, there were 12.7 million reported cases of cancer. Based on the current trends, a report on the Lancet Oncology journal predicts this will jump to 22.2 million new cases of cancer by 2030.
You can reduce your odds if you learn to avoid cancer-causing foods. Here are 16 of the worst offenders.
1. Non-organic fruit and vegetables
Fresh produce is rich in antioxidants. What many people do not realize is that some of the pesticides used to spray fruits and vegetable crops cause cancer. There is certainly evidence to suggest that pesticide exposure increases the risk of tumor development which affects the brain, breast, and prostate, as well as lymphoma and leukemia. Some pesticides are now banned for this very reason, but others with carcinogenic properties are still in use.
Every year, the Environmental Working Group publishes a list of produce that contain the highest levels of pesticide residues. This year’s report highlighted that apples, strawberries, peaches, grapes, celery, and spinach give you the largest doses of pesticides. Even more alarming is the fact that less than 21 percent of all pesticides sold in the United States have been tested for their carcinogenic effects. The rest have not yet been evaluated. Furthermore, 45 of the pesticides approved for food are linked to cancer in animals, which makes them more likely to cause cancer in humans.
Some sources would recommend washing produce before eating but it has been proven that they may still contain pesticide residues, even after washing and peeling. This is because some chemicals are resistant to breakdown and will remain in food crops for a long time. Research shows that prolonged exposure to the pesticide residues found in non-organic fruits and vegetables increases the risk for different cancers.
If you want to continue incorporating fruits and vegetables into your diet without increasing your risks for cancer, go organic. Organic produce contain little to no traces of these cancer-causing pesticides. It is also recommended to wash and lightly scrub your organic produce before consumption to reduce their pesticide content.